University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Sitio Conte in Real Time: January 20, 1940


January 20, 2015

We are going up to the camp early this afternoon to get things started, find out the lay of the land, and get a better idea of what to buy.

J. Alden Mason to John Corning, January 20, 1940

Finally in Panama after their “swanky” voyage on the Grace Line, Mason wrote to John Corning about continued preparations for the expedition now that some of the team had arrived.  Samuel Lothrop, of the Peabody Museum, who excavated at Sitio Conte nearly ten years early was working with Mason for the first couple of weeks.  Armed with Lothrop’s experience and connections in Panama, they were doing last minute shopping in the city before they made their way to the site to start digging!

01-20-40_letter1We have a copy of the contents of the box that Mason mentions Lothrop received back from Mr. Curtis.

01-20-1940_equipment-listThis is just a small sample of the tools and equipment that Mason and his team amassed. In addition to the items they brought with them, they made frequent trips to purchase things while in Panama, and still needed to have last-minute equipment shipped to them from Philadelphia during the expedition.

p.s. At the end of Mason’s letter, he adds that they “located in town Lothrop’s old cook who is apparently a Jamaican and talks English.”  So what do you stock an archaeological expedition’s kitchen with in 1940? Next up on Real Time in Sitio Conte!


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